Slip and Fall

by California Injury Attorney Patrick Hogan

Slip and Fall LawyerIf you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and damages associated with your injuries.

A slip and fall case comes about when a property owner or someone responsible for the  property is negligent in the maintenance, repair or general upkeep of the property. When you’ve been injured on someone else’s property in a slip and fall accident, it can be unclear who is responsible for your injuries and who should pay the medical expenses you’ve incurred.

While slip and fall accidents can appear to be harmless, in many cases they can be very injurious. In fact, slip and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injury. Falls injure over one million people in the United States every year. A simple slip and fall accident can lead to expensive medical bills, time away from work and sometimes even death in the most severe cases.

Slip and Falls and the Law

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced slip and fall attorney. It takes skill and knowledge to know how to successfully prove the owner of the property was negligent. In order to build a strong case, your attorney must prove the following:

  • That the condition of the property where the accident happened was dangerous

  • The property owner knew or should have known about the condition of the property

  • That the owner of the property had a reasonable amount of time to repair the condition of the property

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Wet floors come to mind when most people think of slip and fall accidents. While wet floors are a leading cause of slip and fall accidents, other things can cause these types of accidents including:

  • Abrupt changes in flooring characteristics

  • Hidden hazards such a hole in the ground

  • Uneven sidewalks

  • Ice-covered sidewalks

  • Poor lighting

  • Narrow stairways

  • Obstructions on flooring

It’s important for a victim of a slip and fall accident to contact a slip and fall accident attorney right away. The cause of the accident must be documented before the property owner has time to correct the hazard that resulted in the accident. Proof of the hazard and the victim’s resulting injuries are essential to winning a slip and fall lawsuit.

Types of Injuries That can Result from Slip and Falls

Victims of slip and fall accidents can suffer severe physical injuries which may include:

  • Broken and dislocated bones

  • Lacerations, contusions and abrasions

  • Amputations

  • Cosmetic disfigurement

  • Neck and spinal injuries

  • Traumatic head injuries and even,

  • Death

Hogan Injury specializes in slip and fall accidents. We have the experience and expertise needed to gather information necessary for building a strong case. A slip and fall accident can leave you without work, mounting medical expenses and an uncertain future. We work hard to help our slip and fall clients get the compensation they both need and deserve and we can do the same for you. We offer a No Fee Consultation service which means you don’t pay us a thing unless you win your case.

Washington Drug Forfeitures – RCW 69.50.505

civil drug forfeitureWashington State has some of the worst civil drug forfeiture laws in the country. The Government can take property it believes was part of a drug transaction. Once the government takes your property, you have the burden of proving that the property was legal acquired and unrelated to a drug crime. That’s right, you have to prove that you didn’t break the law. If you don’t prove your innocence, then you don’t get your property back.

This blog will discuss forfeitures and defenses. I’ll lay out the law by giving some examples of cases our firm is currently fighting.

Washington State Civil Drug Forfeiture Law

RCW 69.50.505 governs civil drug forfeitures. Under this law, State police agencies can seize money earned by selling drugs, as well as money intended to be used to engage in a drug transaction. The police then get to keep the majority of the money they take. Cops can also take cars and other property used to commit a crime or that makes it easier to commit a crime.

We currently represent a gentleman who was visiting a house when police arrived to search for a marijuana grow operation. Our middle aged client had a clean criminal history, and hadn’t broken any laws when he was arrested. The local police department still took his $900 claiming that it was related to the alleged marijuana grow. They also seized his phone and personal belongings.

Under RCW 69.50.505, the government may seize “proceeds” of drug dealing. The Police in the above case simply believed that since the older guy was around people who broke the law, the money he had in his pocket must have come from drug dealing. We now have the burden of proving that our client earned the money before he ever came to visit Washington State. That’s right, we have to prove that the police theft from our client was wrong. Sadly, this happens every single day as police seek to take as much money and property as possible. After all, they directly benefit from these seizures when they keep the cash and sell the items that they’ve taken.

Removing Civil Drug Forfeitures To District Court

You have to properly move a civil drug forfeiture to District Court, or the same police agency that originally took your money will decide whether police can keep your money. Wrap your head around that. The police take property and then decide whether they did it properly. Guess how often they admit that they were wrong. That’s right, cops second guessing themselves is rarer than the Mariners in a playoff game. Forfeiture victims who want to avoid this additional injustice need to get their cases away from the police and into a court with a judge.

The removal is relatively easy with a Petition to Remove and a Summons and Complaint that identifies the wrongfully forfeited property. Of course, you’ll also have to pay the Court’s filing fee and serve the police, and in our case the city mayor. You must file and serve your pleadings within 45 days of challenging the forfeiture.

Defenses to Civil Drug Forfeiture

Wining a civil drug forfeiture case is tough, but possible. Forfeiture attorneys generally attack these thefts both procedurally and factually. Procedurally, the rules are very strict, and even minor errors by police will result in the return of property.

Police must initially prove that seized money or property was illegally acquired, or would be used to commit a crime. This can be difficult for police to show. If cops fail, then they must return the seized property.

Unfortunately, if police make the initial showing of probable cause to believe the seized property is related to a crime, then the forfeiture victim has to show enough facts to prove that the property was legally obtained and wasn’t going to be used in a crime.

Police caught a recent client with a bunch of money while visiting friends here in Washington. Local police couldn’t believe the the client could have tens of thousands of dollars unless they were committing crimes. Fortunately, our client proved that the money was legal. We convinced a judge that simply having a lot of cash doesn’t make someone a criminal.

Property Forfeited

Police agencies can forfeit any type of property from cash to real estate. We most often see officers and agent seize cash, cars, trucks, boat’s, planes, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles. Less common are civil drug forfeitures of houses and real estate. A drug task force recently seized several homes and buildings following marijuana raids. At least one of the homeowners was unaware of the illegal activities going on in his house. That is a defense to forfeiture and he should get his house back.

Forfeiture victims have important rights, and a short time frame in which to act. We can help, but time is of the essence, so call Durflinger Oliver today, 253-683-4180.

Standard DUI Penalties In Washington

The State of Washington takes DUI offenses seriously when it comes to penalties received by those convicted of these crimes.

Like many states, Washington also has a set of standard penalties that are issued in DUI cases before the courts.

These penalties can include a combination of jail time, fines, license suspension, evaluations, and other penalties.

Factors Considered

The mandatory penalties that are issued for a DUI in Washington can vary depending on a number of factors.

These factors include:

• How many prior DUI offenses the defendant has within the previous seven years;

• The driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC);

• The breathalyzer results, as well as any refusals to take the test; and

• Injuries that resulted, if any, from the DUI.

First DUI In Seven Years

If a DUI is the first one that the defendant has had ever or in the last seven years, and the defendant’s BAC is below 0.15, the minimum jail sentence is one day in jail or 15 days electronic home monitoring, with a minimum fine of $941 and 90 day license suspension.

If the driver refused to take the test or the BAC is 0.15 or above, the minimum jail sentence is two days in custody or 30 days electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,196, and a license suspension of one year or two years if the driver refused to take the test.

In addition, a one-year period of ignition interlock is required as a result of a first DUI conviction.

Second DUI in Seven Years

If this offense is the driver’s second DUI in seven years, the penalties do increase.

For someone who has a BAC of below 0.15, a minimum jail sentence of 30 days is imposed or 60 days of electronic home monitoring, with a minimum fine of $1,196, and a license suspension for two years.

If the driver had a BAC of 0.15 or above or refused to cooperate with the test, he or she will face a minimum jail sentence of 45 days, 90 days of electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,621, and a license suspension of two and a half years for a high BAC or a three year suspension for refusing to take the breath test.

A second-time offense comes with at least one year of the ignition interlock, with a possibility of up to five years of the device.

Third DUI In Seven Years

If this is the driver’s third DUI in seven years, again, the penalties increase in Washington State.

For a driver who has a BAC of below 0.15, a minimum jail sentence of 90 days with 120 days electronic home monitoring is imposed, with a fine of $2,046, and three years license suspension.

If the driver has a BAC of 0.15 or over or refused to take the breath test, the jail sentence increases to a minimum of 120 days with 150 days electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $2,896, and license suspension for four years.

The ignition interlock device is required again, and depending on how the prior offenses were disposed of, the length can be either ten years, five years, or one year.

If the driver has had three or more DUIs, the state can also designate him or her as a Washington State habitual traffic offender (HTO).

The court will also require an alcohol evaluation and treatment at this point, as well as a victim’s impact panel.

The driver will be responsible for the costs of both of these penalties.

Additional Factors To Consider

No one situation is the same, and because of this, aggravating factors can come into play when determining the mandatory sentence to be given.

Judges are given discretion when determining whether a defendant should receive more than the mandatory minimum, based on the circumstances of the case.

Factors that could increase the sentence include the number of criminal convictions other than a DUI that the driver has on his or her record, whether the DUI led to an accident, whether there were passengers or even children present, and whether the judge believes the driver poses a risk to those on the road.

Probation

The State of Washington can impose up to five years of probation, whether the probation be monitored, unmonitored or a combination of the two types.

Monitored probation means that a probation officer is assigned to the driver’s case, and he or she is required to keep in regular contact with the officer for the term of probation.

Unmonitored means that a court clerk periodically checks compliance with the probation sentence.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call today to schedule your free consultation at 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Understanding How Prior DUI Convictions Affect DUI Cases

When it comes to Washington DUI laws, many factors play into how severe the penalties will be after a conviction is entered.

One of these factors is whether the defendant has prior convictions on his or her record. A prior conviction can mean many different things, however, more than just an official DUI.

Prior Offense Defined

When it comes determining a mandatory sentence, many factors are considered.

These include whether the driver has prior DUI offenses, whether he or she complied with taking the breathalyzer test, whether an accident was involved in the incident, whether any children or other passengers were present at the time, and whether the judge believes the driver posed a risk to the community.

If the driver has one or more prior offense in his or her criminal history, the minimum jail sentence that the court has to impose will likely be increased.

A prior offense is defined as an offense that has occurred within the previous seven years of the date of the current arrest.

What Offenses Qualify As A Prior Offense?

DUI

The first and most obvious offense is another DUI conviction, so long as it occurred within the seven years before the current offense the driver is facing.

A DUI can be in Washington as well as any other jurisdiction for it to be considered a prior offense.

Physical Control

Physical control is another offense considered as a “prior.”

It involves an individual being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of or affected by alcohol or other substance or while the driver has sufficient alcohol in his or her body to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher within two hours after being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

Reckless Driving

A prior offense also includes reckless driving, if amended from a DUI charge. Reckless driving is defined as someone driving a motor vehicle with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others or of property.

So long as the reckless driving charge occurred within the previous seven years and was a plea down from an original DUI charge, it will be considered a prior offense.

Reckless Endangerment

Another prior offense includes reckless endangerment, and like reckless driving, it is included if pleaded down from an original DUI charge and must have occurred within seven years of the current charge.

Negligent Driving in the First Degree

A prior offense also includes negligent driving in the first degree, which involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that is considered negligent.

This means that the individual has breached a standard of care that all drivers should follow when operating a motor vehicle.

This offense must be reduced from a DUI charge for it to be counted as a prior offense.

Deferred Prosecution

A deferred prosecution is included as a prior offense, even if it was dismissed after the required five-year period.

Deferred prosecution is a program for those who are seeking treatment for alcoholism, mental health or drug addiction.

The person must have admitted they have a problem for which treatment is needed and admit that without the treatment, he or she would likely re-offend.

Incidents Resulting in Injury

A prior offense also includes when an accident results from the DUI, including vehicular homicide or vehicular assault. The judge will also consider any injuries or death in determining the minimum sentence issued.

Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle with THC in System

Another prior offense includes an individual operating a commercial vehicle with marijuana or THC in his or her system.

Operating Additional Vehicles or Devices Under Influence

A prior offense does not just include a car or truck. In fact, other vehicles or motorized devices can be included in terms of a prior offense.

These offenses include operating a vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana or other mind-altering drug, otherwise known as Boating under the Influence (BUI).

If the person has previously been arrested for operating an aircraft under the influence, this offense will be considered as a prior one.

In addition, if he or she has operated a snowmobile under the influence, this can be considered as a prior in determining the penalty.

Lastly, if the person operated a golf cart under the influence or any other “non-highway” vehicle, that can be considered, as well, as a prior offense.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Schedule your free consultation by calling 855-712-7371 today. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Is It Possible To Plead To A Lesser Offense For A Washington State DUI?

No one wants a DUI on their record. The offense carries a great deal of negative connotation with it for the defendant.

A DUI charge can result in significantly higher insurance premiums and can hurt the driver’s chances of getting a job at a later date once the offense is on the driver’s official record.

It is for these reasons that many drivers hope to get their offense reduced to lesser charge, but is that always possible?

Reckless Driving

A reckless driving conviction is a lesser charge than a standard DUI and is considered a reduction.

Many drivers prefer a reckless driving conviction because it does not come with required jail time or fines on a first offense in seven years.

Of course, the judge always has the discretion to impose jail time depending on the circumstances, but it is not statutorily required.

If the driver does plead down to a reckless charge, however, and later receives another DUI or related charge, the reckless driving can count against him or her as a “prior” DUI, which will be used to enhance the mandatory minimum penalties on the later conviction.

A reckless driving conviction comes with a mandatory license suspension for a period of 30-days.

If the driver previously lost his or her driver’s license due to the DUI charge, he or she will not receive any additional suspension time on top of what was already “served.”

However, if the driver did not lose his or her license up until that point, the mandatory 30-day suspension period will kick in.

In some circumstances, a driver can drive during this 30-day period but only with an occupational restricted license.

First-Degree Negligent Driving

Another option available to defendants facing a DUI in Washington is a “negligent driving in the first degree.”

What this offense entails is the individual was operating a vehicle in a way that is considered negligent, meaning he or she breached the standard of care that the law believes all drivers should follow when behind the wheel, and because of his or her negligence, the driver endangered either another person or property.

In addition to this negligent behavior, the driver must have exhibited the side effects of having consumed drugs or alcohol.

Under Washington law, a first-degree negligent driving charge is a misdemeanor. The penalties include up to 90 days in jail along with a maximum fine of $1,000.

As is the case in any criminal legal matter, a judge can modify and add to this sentence depending on the circumstances of the case.

Second DUI Offenses

Matters can become much more complicated if the defendant is facing a second DUI offense or later offense.

Many states punish repeat DUI offenders more severely than first-time offenders, and Washington State is no different.

When a judge is looking at sentencing, prior convictions for DUI offenses will stay on someone’s record for seven years.

DUI offenses are not the only convictions that will be used as “priors” when coming up with later punishments.

In fact, if a driver was originally charged with a DUI but pleaded to a lesser offense, such as a “wet reckless” or first-degree negligent driving charge, that conviction will also be counted as a “prior” offense when determining the second or later offense’s punishment.

It is important that defendants discuss this possibility with their attorneys prior to agreeing to any plea bargain.

Deferred Prosecution

Is it possible that the defendant can agree to another alternative in lieu of the State prosecuting a DUI charge?

Yes, this possibility does exist in the form of a deferred prosecution.

A deferred prosecution is an agreement by the State to not prosecute a DUI in exchange for a defendant’s agreement to enter into and finish a two-year intensive outpatient alcohol, drug or mental health treatment program.

A treatment program can be pricey and generally runs between $2,000 to $5,000. Health insurance may cover the cost of a program, but not all do.

Once the defendant enters into the agreement, he or she agrees that if the program is not completed or he or she commits a violation of the conditions given by the court, the court will then review the police report to determine guilt or innocence.

This review normally results in a DUI conviction. A defendant only gets one deferred prosecution opportunity in a lifetime.

Therefore, it is extremely important that this option is considered seriously and completed fully.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call 855-712-7371 today to schedule your free consultation. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

4 Facts About Washington’s New E-DUI Law

In 2017, Washington State took a big step towards tougher regulations on distracted driving.

Prior to the new law that was enacted in the summer of 2017, Washington had already made texting or holding a phone to the driver’s ear illegal while driving.

However, the law has been expanded into much more than that, and it is important that drivers understand what this means.

1. What Is The E-DUI?

In the Spring of 2017, the Washington state legislature expanded the already-strict distracted driving law to forbid handling a phone while behind the wheel for any reason at all.

This even included while at a stop in traffic or while at a red light. Previously, the law had simply forbidden texting and calling someone while driving.

This new law essentially makes it illegal to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

So long as the driver is in the flow of traffic, he or she is to not even touch the cell phone. If the driver wants to use an electronic device, he or she is expected to pull over and do so once out of traffic.

In addition, the law also makes it possible that a driver can be ticketed for any activity that causes the driver to be distracted and possibly drive poorly as a result, such as drinking, brushing one’s hair, eating or any other type of activity that does not include driving.

The law now classifies all of these actions as an “E-DUI.” Like driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver is “driving under the influence of electronics.”

The violation is also considered a “primary offense”, which means that police can stop you if it looks like you’ve broken the E-DUI law.

2. What Are The E-DUI Penalties?

An E-DUI infraction works on graduated scale. It starts with an initial fine of $136. A second offense and any subsequent offenses within five years will be a $234 fine.

Unlike the previous cell phone violations, a driver who receives an E-DUI will see it placed on his or her driving record, which will also be reported to the insurance provider and could very easily increase insurance premiums.

The additional activities not related to operating a car, as mentioned before, such as smoking or eating will end up with a fine of $99.

The reason for this new law? A distraction is a distraction, no matter what.

3. What Are The Exceptions?

Like so much of the law, however, there are exceptions to the rule. Drivers can use a phone while driving so long as it is “hands-free” and requires very minimal finger touching.

The driver can swipe the phone to turn it on but nothing more than that. So long as the driver keeps the phone in a cradle and uses only voice commands to operate the GPS or make calls, he or she should be in the clear.

Of course, the law does allow an exception for drivers who need to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

If the car is out of traffic and not in use, the driver can use the electronic device. However, the driver must be parked and completely outside of traffic.

If he or she needs to use a GPS to access directions, this needs to happen out of traffic and before the car starts moving.

Drivers who use a CB or two-way radio are also excluded from the law. Similarly, police officers, emergency workers or firefighters are exempt from the law, while in the line of their duties.

4. What To Do If Charged With An E-DUI

Keep in mind that the law is still relatively new and has not been fully litigated. The term “DUI” normally comes with negative connotations, and an E-DUI is no exception.

This offense will be on the driver’s record for the long haul so it so it is important that the driver do whatever can be done to minimize the damage once receiving the initial ticket.

Because the law is so new, it is recommended that the driver contact a criminal attorney to discuss his or her rights and see how would be the best way to approach the situation.

With the first offense or even second, the ticket might be flawed, and beatable. No matter what, though, the offense should not be taken seriously.

While it may not be something as taboo as alcohol or drugs, distracted driving is now being treated seriously and drivers should seek experienced legal help.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call today to schedule your free consultation at 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Will I Get Jail Time For My DUI In Washington?

If someone is accused of a DUI in the State of Washington, he or she may be facing the possibility of jail time. In fact, a DUI in Washington is actually punishable by up to 364 days in jail.

While this sentence is only given in extreme circumstances, the possibility is there that a person charged with a DUI could be sentenced to serve time in jail.

Mandatory Washington State DUI Penalties

For the most part, DUI offenses come with specific mandatory penalties, which can vary based on how many prior DUI offenses the defendant has had within the past 7 years.

These prior offenses can include not just a DUI but also any vehicular assault and vehicular homicide convictions.

Crimes that were also charged as a DUI but reduced to a lesser sentence, such as reckless driving, are also considered a “prior offense” if they happened within seven years of the most current arrest for a DUI.

The mandatory penalty can also vary based on the breathalyzer results. The higher the blood alcohol levels (BAC), the higher the mandatory minimum sentence.

First DUI Offense

If the defendant is facing his or her first DUI offense in seven years and the BAC is less than 0.15, the minimum jail sentence is one day with a minimum fine of $941, as well as a license suspension of 90 days.

If the BAC is above 0.15 or the driver refused, the minimum jail sentence is two days with a minimum fine of $1,195.50. If the BAC was above 0.15, the driver will likely face a one-year license suspension.

If he or she refused to take the test, the license suspension could be for two years. A one-year sentence of using an ignition interlock system is also required for a 1st DUI conviction.

Second DUI Offense

For a second DUI offense in seven years, if the defendant had a BAC of below 0.15, he or she could be facing 30 days of jail and 60 days of electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,195.50 and 2 years of a license suspension.

For refusal to take the test or a BAC of above 0.15, the defendant, if convicted, will face 45 days in jail and 90 days with electronic home monitoring, as well as a fine of $1,620.50.

The driver’s license will be suspended for 2.5 years for a high BAC level or 3 years for refusal to take the test. The ignition interlock system is required for a second DUI offense for at least one year, with the possibility of up to five years.

Additional DUI Offenses

For a defendant who has received three or more DUI convictions, with a BAC of below 0.15, he or she could be facing 90 days jail time with 120 days of electronic home monitoring and a fine of $2,045.50, as well as a driver’s license suspension for three years.

For drivers with a BAC over 0.15 or those who refused to take the test and were convicted, the jail sentence increases to 120 days in jail with 150 days of electronic home monitoring, a fine of $2,895.50, and license suspension for four years.

The ignition interlock requirement can be anywhere from one to ten years, depending on what type of prior offenses the driver had.

The driver will also need to complete an alcohol evaluation, as well as treatment program, both of which the driver pays for out of pocket.

Alternatives To Jail

In many situations, a defendant may have other options to jail time. While many DUI penalties do require mandatory jail time be served by “imprisonment,” this does leave some possibilities open.

Imprisonment means it cannot be served at home through electronic monitoring, but the defendant could potentially do work release in some jurisdictions.

Also, some counties have jail alternative days for 1st offenders that allow them to complete a day in jail and alcohol treatment classes in less confining locations than a county jail.

Probation Terms

The State does require up to five (5) years of probation for a DUI offense. It can be monitored by a probation department or unmonitored, as well as a combination of the two.

All unmonitored supervision means is that a court clerk will check compliance with the sentence.

Monitored means an actual probation officer is assigned to the defendant’s case, and this person maintains regular contact with the offender for the length of the probation term.

The defendant will be responsible for the costs of probation.

Contact Us Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call 855-712-7371 today to schedule your free consultation. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Slip and Fall Attorney

What Happens in a Tacoma Slip and Fall Case


Slip and Fall Attorney
A hypothetical client named “John” recently came into our office a couple weeks after suffering a slip and fall snow and ice injury. Poor John tore the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee when he fell. His medical bills stacked up quickly. On top of his medical bills, he couldn’t exercise, he couldn’t work around the house, and he couldn’t go to work. He risked losing everything. When we were done, the insurance company paid his bills, paid his lost wages, and paid for his pain and suffering.

Who was Responsible for John’s Slip and Fall Injuries?

John slipped on ice while walking from his car to go shopping. He slipped on an icy sidewalk that the business owner knew was dangerous. In Washington State, business owners are frequently liable for unsafe icy conditions on their properties. The basic rule is that a property owner is liable for any dangerous conditions that they new about, or should have known about.

In John’s case, the business knew, or should have known, about the icy conditions that caused John to fall. The business could have easily gotten rid of the ice, or at least warned John that the ice existed, but it did nothing. The business was responsible for John’s damages.

Damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. It can also include property damage such as, in this case, torn clothing.

John Documented Everything 

You need to collect and preserve proof of everything that happened to you. Insurance companies, adjusters, lawyers, judges, and juries want proof. The best way to get that proof is to collect copies of everything related to your accident. John went one step further and kept a Pain Journal.

John, like most people, couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast two days earlier, so he was careful to keep copies of all documents, and take careful notes about his injuries and daily pain. Use the old “who, what, where, when and why” in your journal. Each of your notes should answer who is the person or entity involved, what did they say or do or not do, where did the action occur, when did the action occur, and why did the action occur.

John kept a great pain journal. He recorded a few notes each day about how he felt, and how the pain was effecting him. That made a big difference. A sample entry in John’s journal indicated “lower right side back pain, 8/10 on February 1, 2017.” He also wrote notes about when he couldn’t clean, or couldn’t do the things he usually did. He was very good at indicating who, what, where, when and why.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

John’s wife was careful to take a LOT of pictures of the area where John fell. Those pictures really helped later, and were probably worth thousands of dollars in additional settlement money.

If you’re getting pictures of an accident scene, get as many different angles as possible. You should get pictures at the same time of day, with the same weather and traffic conditions that existed when you were injured. The sooner after the event, the better. If you do the pictures well, this is money in your pocket later. Take more pictures that you think necessary. Let your lawyer get rid of bad pictures. John and his wife did a great job of collecting great pictures of the icy sidewalk just hours after his slip and fall.

Medical Records are Necessary

You must prove your injuries. See a doctor as soon as possible, and do everything that they tell you to do. When you talk to your doctor, make sure that you clearly describe everything that you are feeling. Ask them to include those details in your medical records. This can be the difference between a good settlement and getting nothing.

An Experienced Tacoma Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Make a Big Difference

Durflinger Oliver founding partner James “Jim” Oliver has nearly two decades of experience handling personal injury cases just like yours. Jim worked for insurance companies, served as an Assistant Attorney General and devotes much of his professional life to helping those injured in slip and fall cases.

Durflinger Oliver & Associates works on a contingent fee basis, which means that you don’t pay any money up front. Call today before you lose your right to recover money for your damages, (253) 683-4180.

Michael Bennet Arrest

A Superstar Detained

By now, we’ve all seen video of Seattle Seahawks star, Michael Bennett, running from a shooter at a Las Vegas casino. Opinions generally fall into one of two camps. The first is that Bennett shouldn’t have run from police, and the other is that when someone might be shooting at you, instinct takes over and you run.

On August 27, 2017, a gunman opened fire at a Vegas nightclub. Michael Bennett heard the gunshots and immediately ran out of the club for his own safety.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers arrested Bennett as he ran for cover during the shooting. The officer drew his weapon, pointed it at Bennett and ordered the NFL player to the ground. Another officer pinned Bennet to the ground with his knee while forcefully handcuffing him.

Bennett remained calm, which is remarkable considering the situation. He referred to the officer as “sir” and continued to ask the officer what he had done and why he was being detained. There were hundreds of people running from the club and fleeing the scene, but it appears that the muscular, black athlete was the only individual detained by officers.

What Reasonable Suspicion?

According to reports, the police did not have a description of the shooter at the time, so it appears Bennett was detained for no other reason than being a large black man. Those on the other side point to officer training in identifying suspicious persons. It’s not yet clear why police targeted Bennet.

This incident raises many questions. Was the officer justified in his use of force? There was no description of the shooter, so why did officers detain Michael Bennett? Did officers arrest anyone else running from the club? 

Unfortunately, we may never get the proper answers to these questions. The officers who detained Bennett wore body cameras, which would have been helpful. Unfortunately, they apparently disabled their body cameras, so there is no video of the event.

Know Your Rights

You have rights if the police detain you:

  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, SAY SO OUT LOUD
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of your person, vehicle, or your home
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave
  • You have the right to a lawyer. Ask for an attorney as soon as possible, and do not speak to police without an attorney
  • Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights

Here’s what to do when police stop you:

  • Stay calm and be polite
  • Do not interfere with or obstruct the police officer(s)
  • Do not lie or give false statements or documents
  • Remember the details of your encounter with the officer

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 253-683-4180. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Dog Bite Liability

Strict Liability

Dog BiteDog owners are generally strictly liable when their dog bites someone. Under Washington law

“[t]he owner of any dog which shall bite any person while such person is in or on a public place or lawfully in or on a private place including the property of the owner of such dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

RCW 16.08.040. That means that a dog owner is almost always liable for his pet’s attacks on law abiding people. If the dog attack causes damages, the dog owner is responsible for compensating the victim.

Dog Bite Damages

Dog attack damages include pain and suffering, emotional and psychological trauma, treatment bills, and property damage. Bite wounds affect different people different ways. For some victims, a dog attack is merely painful. For others, the bite inflicts emotional trauma, too. Treatment frequently causes people to miss work, and interferes with family and personal time. The attacking dog’s owner can be responsible for all bite related damages.

Invitee, Licensee or Trespasser

Liability for damages turns on the victim’s status as an invitee or licensee or trespasser.

An “invitee” is someone who comes onto another’s property, premises or business establishment upon invitation. An open business impliedly invites people in to look around and shop. Customers are, therefore, invitees. Dog owners are generally liable to invitees for dog bites.

A “licensee” is a person who enters land with permission of the owner, but without the purpose of conveying some economic benefit to the property owner. You are a licensee when you visit a friend’s home, for instance. Dog owners are generally liable to licensees for dog bites.

The statute doesn’t apply, however, in trespass cases. Trespass involves knowingly entering or remaining on another person’s property without permission. Dog owners are generally not responsible for attacks on trespassers.

The law also does not apply to law enforcement animals. Police abuse with a K9 is illegal, and those victims have legal rights under other statutes.

What to Do After a Dog Bite

If a dog bit you, you should seek prompt medical attention at an emergency room, or other treatment provider. You should also report the incident to your local humane society. The Humane Society can verify immunizations and rabies inoculations with the dog’s owner. Keep an eye on the wound site. Increased pain, swelling, or redness can indicate an infection. Do not hesitate to return to the doctor’s office if you have any concerns about pain or infection.

Schedule an appointment with a lawyer at your earliest convenience. You have rights. You must, however, act quickly to protect those rights. Call our experienced dog bite attorneys today for a free consultation, 253-683-4180. We take dog bite cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until you do, so call today.

Injury Attorney

January 2015